I’ve been slacking and I apologise.
I finally got WiFi at home yesterday which means I can actually use the internet again. It’s been almost impossible to get online outside of Starbucks, and trying to blog has been a nightmare. I promise I’ll do my best to update regularly again, and I still have a Shanghai post to do ASAP.
So! Today, my friend Dean and I went on his bike to a mountain called HuaGuoShan (花果山) which doesn’t translate to monkey mountain, but that’s it’s English name, apparently.
It was warm by 8:30am and as we drove through this deserted city, looking around at empty buildings and flat land, we kinda knew it was going to be a good day!
The drive was less than 20 minutes and our first view was a small pagoda in the middle of a lake, then suddenly we realised we’d arrived at the base of the mountain.
You could feed Koi Carp with a baby bottle, buy toy monkeys and strange rainbow hats! The ticket cost ¥100 (£10) for Dean, but free for me because I have a ‘tourist card’ #winning
And we saw little goats too!
We couldn’t take the bike through so we started walking, both claiming how unfit we were and that we’d never make it too far. Oh boy did we prove ourselves wrong!
First stop ✋🏻 we had to take photos, of course
We decided to take the 349 steps up, because why take a bus when you’ve only just arrived – right? They nearly killed us! Or so we thought.
We came across mini pagodas, look out towers, blossom everywhere! And, wait, even. more. stairs.
The views were unbelievably beautiful and we knew the more we walked, the more amazing it would be. We met people along the way who wanted take selfies with us, with their kids, they were videoing us or chatting. It was lovely! One old guy was RUNNING up these stairs, encouraging others to ‘keep going’ and he was telling us how we had to go to this temple because it had thousands of years of history, so we joined him. And found monkeyyyyyys!!!
Dean was desperate to find the waterfall, so we kept on walking to reach it, stopping only very briefly to catch our breaths. Everything we passed was fantastic and so interesting! The waterfall was a welcoming sight though as we could walk (err, run!) under it and cool off
(And then go through this awesome underground tunnel – very dark, full of water and Dean nearly knocked himself out because the walls were so low!)
More monkeys, pagodas, caves and an insane view followed as we tried to make our way down the mountain! We met these adorable children and their parents who wanted to take photos with us! And we met them a further 3 times after that. They kept calling us ‘a yi’ and ‘shushu’ which mean auntie and uncle, usually just a form or respect for any man or woman older than you. It was so sweet. I just wanted to hug them all.
You’d think coming down the mountain was easy right? Hell no. We were both struggling with bad knees, leg cramps… we were like a super old, injured pair! It must’ve been quite funny to watch. But, we made it! It was 30°C and pretty clear skies, not much pollution over the mountain which made it even hotter. For some reason Dean wore jeans, I was smart and wore running gear!
Once we hit the bottom of the mountain we slowly wandered back to the bike, and decided we both deserved food and beer – at my favourite Taiwanese restaurant.
We drove back through the empty city and on the way saw an awesome fountain!! So of course we had to pull over and we discovered a beautiful, enormous local park!
Although we could barely stand up, pulling up outside the restaurant felt like arriving at the gates of heaven! (Okay, slightly dramatic but I really thought I was going to pass out!) food, beer and coffee went down extremely well and after 5 hours of walking, we absolutely deserved it.
I’m obviously now waiting for my six pack to suddenly appear, and have been extremely healthy all day. I can only hope I do the same tomorrow but I almost know that I won’t.
Apologies again for not updating sooner, I hope you at least enjoy this post!
Lots of love xo